It was winter break for “true freshman” Drew Wolitarsky, who is recognized across the Santa Clarita Valley, after record-breaking years on the Canyon High School Cowboys football team. He returned to the University of Minnesota in early January, where he began his second semester, and back to football practice, though it is off-season now.
While the sport of football has often been compared to the art of war, there are other similarities that sometimes go unnoticed. It may be due to the seriousness with which football is treated by fans, coaches and athletes, but Wolitarsky has become acquainted with some of the sacrifices built into competing at the college level. Not only did John and Audrey Wolitarsky celebrate Christmas without the third of their four children this year (the University of Minnesota Gophers had a game two days later), but the family gathered without Drew to mourn the death of someone close to him. To read more about his loss visit www.santaclaritalife.com.
Though thousands of miles away from Santa Clarita, Drew Wolitarsky has developed a family atmosphere with teammates. In fact, after rooming in a dorm situation with fellow players, a group of them are moving into an apartment together this semester.
The living quarters are still on campus, said Wolitarsky, and when asked about food, he said, “Everything is provided, they take care of everything we need.”
What they need includes tutoring in multiple subjects, food, transportation and more for the players who, like Wolitarsky, attend U of M on full-ride scholarships. At Christmas the team resided in a hotel, offering as nice a holiday as possible while away from their homes. They all dispersed following their game against Syracuse University in the Texas Bowl on December 27.
For the couple of weeks that Wolitarsky was home in Canyon Country, he was stopped all over town, sometimes by adults he had never met. A lot of the conversations were the same, including, “What’s it like living in Michigan?” Wolitarsky would usually go on with the conversation, resisting the urge to offer a correction, such as, “I don’t know…I go to University of Minnesota.”
As for adapting to the obvious contrast in climate conditions, the college student said that when it is really cold, they simply stay indoors a lot more. He added that playing football in the extreme cold is less than ideal. “When it’s really cold, the ground feels like rocks,” he explained.
After covering the differences in weather, most people asked about school, whether he was happy with his choice of colleges, etc. His answer to that one, by the way, is “yes.”
A funny thing happened when Wolitarsky and his friend went out to a Canyon Country restaurant a couple of weeks ago. Read about it at www.santaclaritalife.com and click on “Tell Me More.”